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The many faces of distracted driving

When you think distracted driving, you think of a teen driver trying to take a selfie while speeding along at 70 mph. Or you think of a person trying to send a text message to his or her boss, glancing down every other second to write it out on the way to work.

You think you can avoid distracted driving if you just avoid these two common activities. While that's a good start, it's important to remember that distracted driving can look vastly different than what you expect.

For instance, did you know that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) considers changing the radio station to be distracted driving? This isn't a new problem that showed up with smartphones in 2007. Distracted driving has been around for decades.

Or, per the NHTSA, playing with your navigation system is also distracted driving. Modern vehicles often have these built right into the dash, or you have the app on your phone, so you may consider using the nav system a natural part of driving a car. Even so, doing it without pulling over takes your eyes off of the road.

The key, the NHTSA says, is to remember that driving should always take your full attention. Anything you do that splits your attention, even for a second, increases the odds that you'll be involved in an accident.

Even if you are vigilant and try to avoid all types of distracted driving, remember that other drivers likely will not follow suit. If you're hit by a distracted driver and injured, you may need to seek financial compensation for those injuries.

Source: NHTSA, "Distracted Driving," accessed Aug. 23, 2017

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